Nikkel staying at home to play for 'Dogs

By Steve Sell
February 13, 2018
Shane Backhus

Ben Nikkel made a lot of memories at McPherson Stadium during his McPherson High football career.

Now he’s going to make more memories there.

Nikkel signed a letter of intent with McPherson College on Monday to stay home and play for the Bulldogs and coach Paul Mierkiewicz.

“Coach Merk was definitely a big factor in it,” said Nikkel, who was first-team AVCTL as a defensive back for the Bullpups and also was a top receiver. “He just made it feel like home. One thing that got me is that he really wanted me to go there and it’s nice to feel really wanted.”

Even though Nikkel was one of the top defensive backs in the state, it was his receiving ability that caught Mierkiewicz’s eye. While Nikkel didn’t take many snaps on that side of the ball, when he did it seemed he always made big things happen, especially since he has such good hands and speed.

The 6-0 and 175-pound Nikkel has tremendous spring as well as he made some high-leaping catches, including a tremendous grab against Buhler in the season opener that was a game-changer.

“I’ll play wherever they need me,” he said. “I think they’re a program on the upswing. They were 3-7 last year, but I felt they could have easily been a .500 team. I think they’re going in the right direction under coach Merk.”

Nikkel is excited to continue his career with Bullpup teammate Kollin Goering, who also signed with the Bulldogs on Monday.

“That’s awesome,” Nikkel said. “We’ve been best friends and played on the same team all the way through. It’s going to be awesome to keep playing with him.”

“Ben is a kid that has tremendous potential at the next level,” MHS coach Jace Pavlovich said. “Sometimes potential can be a bad word, but with Ben's work ethic and drive, he will maximize that potential into results.  I believe that he has a huge upside as a receiver for coach Mierkiewicz. Anytime you put a kid with a 36-inch vertical on the field, good things will happen.”